Gov. Brian Kemp. EMILY HANEY, emily.haney@ajc.com
Photo: Emily Haney/emily.haney@ajc.com
Photo: Emily Haney/emily.haney@ajc.com

The Jolt: Brian Kemp throws cold water on state panel to discipline journalists

We haven’t exactly ignored it, but a few out-of-towners have wondered why we haven’t been more breathless about House Bill 734, a measure that would allow the state to set up a panel that would govern and – if it saw fit – sanction journalists that displease.

The bill was filed earlier this month by state Rep. Andy Welch, R-McDonough, who in nearly the same breath announced he would soon resign his seat. So why haven’t we sounded the alarm? The AJC’s Bill Torpy did, in his fashion.

On the other hand, there’s no reason to throw cold water on a bad idea when you have a governor who will do the job for you. From an interview with Gov. Brian Kemp, in the Saturday edition of the Marietta Daily Journal:

“Well, there’s a lot of things that people introduce down there that are bad ideas,” Kemp said. “You know, I think your readers can decide whether they like what you’re doing or not. You’ve got First Amendment protections.

“ … Wasn’t that kind of late in the session and Andy Welch did that on the way out or something? I just thought that whole thing was pretty bizarre, quite honestly. You’re going to resign right after you got elected and then you’re going to throw that bomb out while you’re leaving? It didn’t make much sense. But I haven’t looked at the bill, so I don’t even know what it says.”

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At the Sixth District GOP gathering on Saturday,  Gov. Brian Kemp gave a mention to his 2020 agenda -- more tweaks to the state’s adoption and foster care laws. Which could mean that this will be the battleground of next year’s “religious liberty” fight. 

***

Keep your eye on U.S. Sen. David Perdue this afternoon. As the weekend began, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms threw down a gauntlet. We’ll see whether Perdue chooses to pick it up.

To explain: Last week, President Donald Trump contradicted White House denials, and said that, yes, his administration was indeed thinking of flooding “sanctuary cities” with asylum-seeking families from south of the border.

Atlanta might be considered one, though city officials have been careful to avoid the word. “Welcoming” has been the preferred term, but Bottoms did sign an executive order, ending the city’s practice of housing ICE detainees.

In any case, as the workday ended on Friday, via Twitter, Bottoms condemned Trump’s idea in exceedingly harsh terms:

“To turn the clock back to an era when certain segments of society were treated as property is immoral. This fearmongering is feeding the rise of hate crimes in our country and is nothing more than a xenophobic game of partisan politics. We are better than this.”

Fast-forward to this afternoon’s rally at the state Capitol, marking the 10th anniversary of the tea party movement in Atlanta. Perdue, who is up for re-election next year, will be one of the speakers.

The messaging gods have decreed that Republican crowds adopt the word “socialism” as their mantra, but given the emphasis that Trump has placed on border issues, the targeting of Atlanta as a storage area for asylum-seeking families could be something the Republican chooses to address.

***

On a related note: U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., raised $2.4 million the first quarter of the year, and has $3.4 million cash on hand for his re-election campaign. We’ll have more once the report is filed, but the total gives him a solid head start. The only high-profile Democrat to file paperwork to run, former Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson, did so after the quarterly fundraising deadline. Others are waiting for Democrat Stacey Abrams to decide, and also may file their paperwork while cooling their heels.

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Former WSB Radio host and 2012 presidential contender Herman Cain is expected to pull his name from consideration for the Federal Reserve board of governors in the coming days, according to ABC News

The news isn’t exactly a surprise. Four GOP senators have publicly opposed Cain's expected nomination, and several others have expressed discomfort given his qualifications and past sexual misconduct allegations. No Democrats are expected to back him. 

President Trump previously suggested he’d leave it up to Cain to decide whether to continue on with his nomination, which is not yet formalized and still undergoing a background check. 

***

Emma Hurt, the shrewd reporter for WABE (90.1FM), came upon some news when she trekked down to former President Jimmy Carter’s Sunday school service at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains. 

Hurt reports that Carter said he got a call from President Donald Trump on Saturday night to discuss his concerns that “China is getting ahead of us.”  Wrote Hunt:

Carter agreed that’s true.

“And do you know why? I normalized diplomatic relations with China in 1979. Since 1979, do you know how many times China has been at war with anybody? None. And we have stayed at war,” he said.

The U.S., Carter said, has been at war for all but 16 years of its 242-year history.

Carter’s point on China isn’t strictly accurate. China briefly went to war with Vietnam almost immediately after the January 1979 dinner that featured President Carter and Deng Xiaoping -- the one that sealed an official U.S.-China relationship.

But the main thrust holds, and in fact is one of Carter’s bragging points -- that not a shot was fired in anger by the U.S. military during his four years as president.

***

He’s got guts: Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan’s son Parker went to prom Saturday with Gov. Brian Kemp’s daughter. The same Kemp who ran a campaign ad pointing a shotgun toward a daughter’s date. We can only imagine how awkward their pre-date conversation was.

Indeed, what about Jake? Is he no longer in the picture? He seemed like such a nice boy.

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